Monday, 18 July 2011

Time Out

The last few months hasn't been all work and stress, husband and I have managed to take some time to ourselves as well.

Last Christmas our daughter gave us a membership for the National Trust and, apart from an outing earlier in the year, we haven't had the chance to make use of it. Last Thursday we paid a visit to Barrington Court in Somerset and thoroughly enjoyed our day. We were lucky with the weather which was very warm and sunny and as there are some beautiful gardens there we made the most of our time just wandering around, enjoying all the sights and scents and sounds of an English country garden. I think we appreciated it all the more because we no longer have a garden of our own. I have posted some pictures of the gardens below and hope you like them. As it was such a lovely day we decided not to go inside and look at the house but will save that for a trip later in the year when the weather is cooler.

Part of the house

Some of the old stables

Beautiful hollyhocks

A bed in the White Garden

Striking orange flowers (not sure what they are called)

The moles have been busy

A herd of cows in an adjoining meadow

We are already planning our next NT trip.

Friday, 1 July 2011

A Tough Old Bird

My 89 year old Mum is proving to be "a tough old bird" in more ways than one! The last few weeks, as I mentioned in my previous post, have been hectic to say the least, indeed, traumatic would probably be a more accurate description of recent events.

Some of you may recall that mum had a bowel cancer operation shortly before last Christmas. She was in hospital for 5 days, came home and in spite of a very severe cold, recovered very well and very quickly. In April the hospital said all was well and they didn't need to see her again. However mum didn't seem to continue to regain her strength and was spending longer and longer periods of time in bed, not like her at all. I was going in to see her each day, 2 or 3 times on some days, preparing her meals and doing whatever was necessary. She also kept having falls but each time, thankfully, it was only her pride that was hurt. On the days that I only went in once she was not averse to telephoning me to summon me to help her, once waking me at 7 in the morning.

I eventually called her GP and he said that she should be admitted to the local hospital in order for them to assess her to try to find out what was wrong. So she had 2 weeks complete rest, even though she hadn't been doing very much in the lead up to being in hospital. However, blood tests showed she was again anaemic, even though she was supposed to have been taking iron tablets. All further tests and scans proved that there were no other problems. The OT department thoroughly monitored her mobility and when she was discharged from hospital she had some extra aids to take home with her. Still very lethargic and seemingly unable to do anything very much for herself, I was back to my twice daily visits.

Husband and I had a holiday booked and it was quite worrying to know what to do. I felt I couldn't leave her alone as she seemed unable to cope with day to day tasks so I tentatively suggested to her that she have some respite care in a local retirement home whilst we were away and to my surprise she readily agreed. So all was arranged, we took her to the home 3 days before we went away. The plan was that the staff would assess her needs and mum would try life there with a view to it being a possible permanent situation. When my daughter and I visited the day before my holiday mum declared that this was just what she needed and felt that she would like to stay permanently! Early days I thought!

However husband and I had our holiday (more of which another time) and I was able to thoroughly relax. We returned home last Friday and on Saturday, full of trepidation, I called at the Home to visit mum, anxious to know how her week had been. "Not for me" she declared. "I don't want to live the rest of my life here". Fair enough. She has to like it enough to stay permanently otherwise we will both be unhappy. So this week I have been trying to set up a care package for her which will mean that someone will call in a couple of times each day to make sure she is OK and do whatever needs to be done at that particular time. I will still do things for her (bed changing, washing, ironing and making meals for her freezer) but will not go in every single day and certainly only once in any day. It will mean I can get my life back and not be constantly at mum's beck and call.

Today she told me that she hopes she can cope on her own once she is back at home as she dislikes the thought of someone going in to do things for her!